Stephen Farnsworth, a political science professor at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, said Kaine’s request for reconsideration “makes a lot of sense” for the senator. Kaine was former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s running mate and is up for re-election to his second term in the Senate this year. He faces an unsettled GOP field and the pipelines could figure in the race, Farnsworth said.
“A lot of Democrats are angry about the pipeline and urging a reconsideration is a low-cost way to respond to that anger,” he said. “The environmentalists are a key part of the Democratic coalition. And there seems to be little political downside to requesting a reconsideration. “Though Kaine doesn’t appear likely to face a primary challenge, “keeping activists happy helps ensure people are willing to work on a general election campaign,” Farnsworth said.